Monday, July 30, 2012

Proof I married the right man

He loves Carmen Miranda!

- Toodle Pip!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Domestic days

I've spent the last few days puttering around the house. I'm supposed to be cleaning it up before the house sitter arrives next week. I daresay it will happen at the last minute! Really I've been sitting around watching the Olympics. Damn sports! There's not much I won't watch. I'm struggling with a meds side affect that makes it difficult for me to swallow so there have been a few sleepless nights. Probably no time to go to the dr before we head off. And George expressed his happiness at getting lap cuddles by reaching up and biting the tail off one of my 1940s wooden Scottie dog brooches. Just over one more week until holiday time and the weather is looking super sunshiny in Europe! Hurrah!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Creepy things from the past: pt 1

Now this absolutely horrified me. So naturally my first thought was to share it with you. I was watching the noir film Nightmare Alley yesterday, about a carnival. They make reference to a geek show and I had no idea what one was. So I looked it up and it turns out to be someone in a sideshow who bites the heads off live chickens or rats. And then eats them. Nice.

This is from the book Nightmare Alley: Early in there book the central character is hanging out by the geek's cage one night when he encounters his boss. He asks him just how one manages to find a geek, anyway; is he some half-wit a backwoods family keeps out in back of the barn or something? No, says his boss; you don't find a geek, you make one. First you approach a hopelessly degraded alcoholic and tell him you want him to pretend to be a geek for a few weeks until you find a real one. Apparently a common dodge is for a person to have a razor concealed in their hand with which they cut the animals they are "biting". The carnival operators keep him supplied with liquor until he is utterly dependent on them, and then one day they tell him that the rubes are getting suspicious, so he will have to start actually biting the heads off of the chickens, eating the rats, or whatever. By then he will already be far down the road of no return. Needless to say, at the end of the film the main character gets a job as a geek. Just until a real one turns up of course... You may wonder how this fits in with the Festival of Fun and I was wondering that too. Looks like noir is off the program too. - Toodle Pip!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A nightmare to remember

I’m going to make a vow. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to stick with it, but I’ll make it nonetheless. I hereby vow to give up war movies for three months. But that doesn’t include homefront films. Geez, trying to negotiate already! The problem began with a film that had nothing to do with the war: A Night to Remember. This is a 1958 film about the sinking of the Titanic. This film is so very, very sad. I ended up bawling my eyes out, sobbing on the floor and getting Mr George’s fur all wet. And then I had nightmares about it. Mr C asked me what exactly I expected from a Titanic film and me saying that it was the most accurate film on the topic really didn’t justify my decision to watch it. Perhaps from some misguided notion that ‘the truth must be faced’. In any case, it was a bad bad bad idea. I think it’s a bipolar thing. I watch an upsetting film and worry about it in my head for weeks afterwards. So, no more upsetting films!

But that’s ok because homefront films are really my favourite anyway and I’ve lots more happy happy films to see me through. I watched a Carole Lombard film – Nothing Sacred – and that was hilarious. Until I remembered that Carole died very sadly in a plane crash while out selling war bonds. Then I watched my first Deanna Durbin film And I LOVED IT. And I think it’s ok because I’m sure she led a very long and happy life. Oh just checked, she’s still alive and a recluse! Well you can’t get much happier than that. She's probably sitting around the house in her pajamas watching old movies, cuddling the cat and eating peanut butter cups. - Toodle Pip!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Old film bonanza!

Ah Channel 31! Home of shows on gentle exercises for seniors! The place to go if you want to advertise car mufflers! Low budget glory! AND home of the best midday movies. I don't know who does the programming but I thank them. You can find all sorts of obscure gems here - sometimes decidedly B grade but entertaining nonetheless. And occasionally, something truly great - though I count George Formby films as top drawer so your mileage may vary! And they recently had their own little Lassie festival so I'm not saying it's always glory days. They showed Powell and Pressburger's One Of Our Aircraft Is Missing recently - man I love that film. And I've got a Carole Lombard one waiting on TiVo. Actually, I've got more movies than I can watch, what with the Tour de France requiring several hours viewing each night.

Lina Romay

Irene Ware - just two of the lovely almost-stars you can see on Channel 31. In other news, I seem to have broken the library's Facebook page. Sigh. - Toodle Pip!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


What have I been doing with my time? The war films are building up. There are two books on Dunkirk on my desk. I haven't sewed since we started on pre holiday rationing. And it's not that I'm organizing the holiday - because I'm not. The truth is I've been sucked into the world of mid Victorian Sensation fiction. There's madness and murder, bigamy, illegitimacy, blackmail and drugs. And it's so good! The Sensation novel emerged in 1860s England. This was a huge time for reading. A tax had been abolished that led to the creation of many newspapers, circulating libraries were booming, publishing skyrocketed, reading crossed classes and gender. This is the time of serialized fiction. A novel would appear in parts over a number of months - sometimes as long as 19. The writers were typically writing as they went, maybe only a few episodes ahead of the reader. Sensation fiction combined the Gothic novel with the domestic. It transposed horrors into the middle class home. The Victorian feminine ideal - a sexless, childlike creature, all curls and gentleness - hides the face of a murderous, scheming bigamist (who we secretly quite admire, or at least understand) Or faints and fades away before an altogether more robust model. These novels are nothing if not subversive. They dwell a lot on madness too - there was quite a scandal at this time when it was realized that lunatic asylums were filled with quite a few sane people who their families had paid to be rid of. So far I've read The Suspicions of Mr Whicher - a nonfiction piece on a 1860 murder that inspired many writers- Lady Audley's Secret, The moonstone, The woman in white, the secret of Edwin Drood (which technically is only half a book because Dickens died before he could finish it - but in any case the secret isn't very secret so i think i can mange without reading the end). I've just started Armadale, have East Lynne on my pile and I've ordered a book called Victorian murder, madness and sensation. I am completely addicted. Toodle Pip!